02 September 2002
By Michelle Worvell
Halifax General Insurance is aiming to increase its commercial book of business fivefold after an extremely successful start, with over 1,000 customers showing an interest during the first week of the pilot stage.
Historically, the Bank of Scotland division of parent group HBOS had a 35% market share of business banking in Scotland, with only a very small share in England. Business insurance went via the bank to a team in Edinburgh who had arrangements with Norwich Union for the smaller business, with the larger accounts being dealt with by a broad panel of insurers.
After the merger, it was decided that the insurance arm of Halifax would make an investment in banking customers and work closely with them for both their banking and insurance needs. Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA) won the contract to provide the small business insurance and has set up a unit in Glasgow branded as The Bank of Scotland.
"We are planning that the business will go up fivefold in gross written premium terms," said Jerry White head of commercial insurance, Halifax General Insurance. "We are giving the customers the buying power of HBOS with the expertise of RSA to provide a simple, straightforward, cost-effective policy. Currently there are 20 people in the unit, and over the next two to three months we will be refining processes and making things even slicker".
For Halifax customers who have more complex, medium-sized insurance needs, the company has implemented the Acturis system, which will be installed into a new Leeds office in October. The office has a brand-new team, with the exception of four or five staff members from the Edinburgh unit.
Halifax is also currently putting together a panel of insurers, and the use of the Acturis system will ensure they will have all their customer information at their fingertips, so that high-quality customer service can be provided immediately.
The managing director of Halifax General Insurance, Howard Posner, said: "In the commercial sector, we feel that there is a lack of simple products and customer service, and here at Halifax General Insurance we believe that we can offer a personal rapport on the back of our banking arm, enabling us to cement our relationship with our customers".
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